So as some of you may know, in fact you should all know if you read my blog, yesterday I left for England to spend 2 days there. The point of this trip was, quite simply, to meet people who I met online in the real world. As soon as I came in the door, back home today, it hit me that it had been only 2 days. It’s felt like it should have been longer, so much has happened, and I certainly did more in those 2 days that I normally do.
For that reason, I’m going to split this account into multiple parts, queue them, and have them post over the next few days. The reason for this is that I don’t want the trip to be recorded poorly and leave out important details. I want to tell it as best that I can, and I hope you find it interesting for that time.
So I’ll skip the flying into Gatwick part and move straight onto the train to Brighton. I’ve had a lot of alone time over the last few days, taking trains and moving through train stations and airports. However, I think it’s worth it. On the first day I was supposed to meet Rachael, someone whom I’ve long thought of as my closest “internet friend”.
I won’t deny that on that train I was trying to think of what to say, and that all of that fell apart when I saw her and her friend Tim waiting just outside the ticket barrier when I arrived. Nor will I deny that it started off quite awkwardly, neither of us sure of what to say to each other. It is a very weird experience though. I’ve known Rachael for just over a year now, and in that time we’d never met in person until yesterday.
Fortunately, there is a reason that Rachael was my closest “internet” friend. She is one of those people who I feel that, if I wanted to, I could tell anything to. She wouldn’t think less of me, but nor would she lie to me and just tell me what I wanted to hear. Also, despite the fact that she kicked me in the shins (I deserved it) and laughed at me when I turned to tell her “I hate England” after a Tesco self-service machine rejected my £50 note over and over again (I just wanted some Haribo Starmix!), I still think of her as a genuinely nice person. And if I was to say how I felt I would say that I (kinda) love her in that friends-type-love kind of way.
So spent most of the day with Rachael and two of her friends, and then some time at the end with Rachael on her own. We talked. I’ll admit that it was still a bit awkward. However, as I sat on the train as it moved away from Brighton and toward Clapham Junction that evening, I started to realise something. All this time, I’ve regarded Rachael as the person I met online that I’ve become closest to, and now I don’t have to call her an “internet friend”. Instead, I can say that she’s one of my closest friends, and that really changes things. I feel now that I know her better, or at least I can see how well that I knew her. It didn’t make me sad as I left Brighton (ok maybe a little), but rather kind of happy that things had changed so much. I don’t know if that will turn out to be a good or a bad thing, but I think it’ll be a wonderful thing.